Chances are you’ve either gotten an email or seen an advertisement with the words “Exclusive Wave Season sale” promoting great cruise deals for the new year. We just responded to an email from a customer already booked on a cruise who received such an email. Her question – is this a better deal?
Wave Season sales – what are they?
The ocean cruise industry traditionally does a significant amount of business between Jan and March. So much so that they call that period of time “wave season”. Many people in the northern climes are thinking about getting away to a warmer location during that time, holiday season is behind us and vacation planning is in full gear.
The cruise industry traditionally offers some really good sales during wave season to take advantage of the consumer interest during this time. Basically it’s their way of trying to convert interest into sales. And who doesn’t want bookings as early as possible in the new year?
Should you book during wave season?
Here’s an article from Avoya that suggests booking during wave season provides the best deals. And many times it does. Virtually every major cruise line offers some form of promotion during this time. And many of these are absolutely great deals. Of course price is just one factor to consider – other factors are listed in the following section.
Of course there may be reasons not to book. Perhaps the specific sailing you want simply is not on sale (of course it may never be on sale!) Perhaps the included amenities simply don’t work for you – for example if you don’t drink, getting a complimentary beverage package may not offer much value. The good news is that most cruise lines now offer choices of amenities.
Factors to consider in Wave Season (or any time)
- What industry standard savings are already included?
- D the savings apply to the destinations and dates you are interested in?
- Is there booking window or traveling window restrictions?
- Can different offers be combined?
- Do the offers apply to all cabin categories or only some?
- Do you qualify for past passenger savings?
- Are early booking discounts included?
- What, if any, amenities are included. This may include on board credits, access to specialized dining or spa, or drink packages, included excursions, internet packages. This can be a very large range.
- Are reduced deposits offerred?
- Are pre paid gratuities included?
My customer received an email that said
“Exclusive Wave Sale – 2-for-1 Cruise Fares PLUS Free Beverage Package and Perks valued up to $2,295!”
Remember she had already booked but this sounded like a great deal so she asked us if it were. It’s hard to tell for any consumer (marketers are great at making anything sound fantastic). For example, the smaller print claimed that she could receive “up to $800 additional free on board credit”. Always be careful about words like “up to.” In this case that applied only to suites.
Once we compared the current “Exclusive Wave Sale” offer to what she already had by booking early, we discovered that the base rate had recently increased and she already had pre-paid gratuities, internet and shore excursions included. So her current booking delivered much better value than the current promotion.
Oh and be especially careful about “2 for 1” sales. In this case (Oceania), they ALWAYS have a “2 for 1” sale.
Wave Season – sometimes it’s better
Of course, there’s many cases when Wave Season deals are great and you should jump on them. In the current wave season, we see some great opportunities to really get some great deals.
But you need to carefully evaluate all the parameters. A trusted, knowledgeable travel agent can help you through the process.
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